Thursday, July 26, 2012

Scientific German Educational Charts

The Evolution Store offers for sale a series of Scientific German Educational Charts that were originally illustrated in the 1950s and 60s. They continue to be produced by the same printing company. This manufacturer has been internationally recognized for producing scientifically accurate educational charts since 1929.


Daphnea and Cyclops

Edible Snail


Red Sea Star


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Creative Nonfiction and Narrative Science

Lee Gutkind started the first ever MFA in Creative Nonfiction at the University of Pittsburgh. Today the similar programs are offered at over 75 schools in the United States. He advocates using narrative as a medium to embed information.

"The way in which most newspapers present the science section is they make it interesting and palatable for the people who are interested in science. But what we need to do, and we need to do this through story, is to be able to make science interesting and compelling to people who aren't interested in science—to people who are interested in other people, and other professions, and other ideas, and other ways of life."

Also, he refers to jargon as "gobbledegook."

I'm a little bit in love with this.

"The reward of creative nonfiction, especially in this world of science, is that people listen, people understand, people relate, and people connect."

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Training Sea Lions to Aid in Rescue

The Oceanogr√†fic at the City of Arts and Sciences is pioneering a new marine mammal training program—one that opens the door for oceanic air-breathers to pursue more rewarding careers than trick-performing at themed amusement parks. The Valencia-based research institute is currently assessing the potential and ability for sea lions to aid in rescue.

Sea lions are well-equipped for life-saving. They possess exceptional eyesight and hearing, they can skillfully maneuver through water even in tight spaces and choppy waves, and they even can go ashore if necessary for combined land-water rescues. And to seal the deal (ha), they are highly trainable.

Some instances where a trained rescue sea lion could be invaluable are in dangerous coastal waters unsuitable for life boats, carrying life lines to vessels in extreme danger, stabilizing the line on which the rescuer descends from a helicopter, searching for sunken bodies, and recovering objects. Another big plus: sea lions have the ability to make repeated deep dives without suffering from decompression sickness (unlike humans).

This training program is a fantastic endeavour, and I'm sure any drowning person would welcome the sight of a sea lion with a lifesaver for a backpack. Just as long as they steer clear of any loose seals sporting yellow bow ties, as such an encounter could potentially be disastrous.

(Speaking of bow ties, one critical question that has not yet been addressed is what their uniforms going to look like?)


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Underwater Photography on Instagram: amrala

One of my favourite Instagramers is a PADI Digital Underwater Photography Instructor from across the world who goes by the handle @amrala online, and Amr Abdul-Majeed in real life. A prolific underwater photographer, Amr updates hourly with beautifully-shot portraits of bizarre water-breathing creatures. Some of the stuff he throws on Instagram could grace the cover of National Geographic. 

Here is a selection of my favourite photographs:

And the photographer himself: